26: ATLANTIC RESEARCH CORP. 5390 Cherokee Ave. Alexandria, Va. 22312

REVENUE: $176 million PROFITS: $9.9 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $2.35 DIVIDEND: None ASSETS: $129.1 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $52.4 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 21 percent EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 2,400 TOP EXECUTIVES: Coleman Raphael, chairman; William H. Borten, president FOUNDED: 1949

DESCRIPTION: Best known as the nation's biggest maker of small rockets, Atlantic Research is becoming an increasingly diversified technology company. It has moved into data communications, electromagnetic field measurement and analysis, microchemistry, printing, aerospace and alternative fuels, in addition to its traditional business of small rockets for missile systems and other uses.

DEVELOPMENTS: Revenue and net income soared again in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, with profits and earnings per share up 30 percent and sales up 21 percent over 1983. Atlantic Research attributed its progress to new contracts for work on the Trident II and Tomahawk programs and follow-up work on the Stinger weapon system. For the first three months of 1985, sales rose 22 percent and profits rose 72 percent over first-quarter figures for 1984.

Last August, Atlantic Research won a $3.7 million subcontract to design and engineer the technical controls that will monitor a new communication system being built by a GTE Corp. subsidiary for the Norad Center at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado Springs. The primary function of the system is to make faster, more accurate assessments of tactical warnings.

The company last year abandoned its work on a patented process for destroying highly poisonous polychlorinated biphenyls, otherwise known as PCBs, despite receiving two federal contracts to demonstrate the process and use it commercially. Atlantic Research said it decided the market for the product was inadequate.

Early in 1985, the company announced plans to develop a coal-water slurry fuel that can be used by industrial users of heavy, less-refined oil. The slurry fuel is expected to sell for 70 percent less than oil, despite the elimination of government subsidies for coal slurry technologies. 27: W. BELL & CO. INC. 12401 Twinbrook Pkwy. Rockville, Md. 20852

REVENUE: $138.1 million PROFITS: $2.7 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: $1.03 DIVIDEND: 7 1/2 cents ASSETS: $52.9 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $27.3 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 10.8 percent EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 1,250 TOP EXECUTIVE: Walter Bell, president and chairman FOUNDED: 1950

DESCRIPTION: W. Bell sells jewelry and gifts in 18 catalogue showrooms in the Washington, Baltimore, Houston and Chicago metropolitan areas.

DEVELOPMENTS: 1984 was a relatively quiet year for Bell. Despite a 10 percent increase in sales, from $125.4 million to $138 million, the company's earnings slipped 1 percent, from $2.7 million to $2.66 million. Bell officials attributed the decline to higher promotional costs that failed to produce the sales increases the company had expected and to a higher tax rate. The company had fewer tax credits for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1984, than it had for fiscal 1983.

Bell had hoped to open several new showrooms last year, using about $6 million it earned from the sale of 525,000 additional shares of stock in 1983. However, the company had trouble finding good locations and opened only one new outlet, in suburban Houston. That store replaced the downtown Houston showroom, which the company had closed earlier in the year after disappointing sales.

Bell now plans to open two showrooms in June, in Fair Oaks and Seven Corners malls in Northern Virginia. When the Seven Corners store opens, Bell will close its larger showroom in Falls Church a mile away.

The company also is searching for additional locations in areas where it already operates, with an eye toward opening two more showrooms by fall. "We are looking to open three to four more stores a year over the next few years," said Martin Pfeiffer, Bell's vice president in charge of finance. "Come 1986 to 1987, we will begin looking for new markets."

In the first six months of fiscal 1985, Bell's sales rose 7 percent, to $87.3 million from $81.8 million in the comparable 1984 period. Earnings jumped by 13 percent to $2.3 million (75 cents) from $2 million (76 cents), although earnings per share declined because the number of shares outstanding grew by 367,172. 28: FLOW GENERAL INC. 7655 Old Springhouse Rd. McLean, Va. 22152

REVENUE: $136.7 million LOSS: $14.4 million LOSS PER SHARE: $1.70 DIVIDEND: None ASSETS: $123.6 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $45.4 million RETURN ON EQUITY: NA EXCHANGE: NYSE EMPLOYES: 1,947 TOP EXECUTIVES: Grant C. Ehrlich, chairman and chief executive officer; Robert E. Wengler, president and chief operating officer FOUNDED: 1961

DESCRIPTION: Flow General is an international, diversified scientific firm specializing in biomedical products and medical supplies. Its Applied Sciences Group does research and analysis primarily for defense-related agencies of the U.S. government. DEVELOPMENTS: Flow General, plagued in the past by criminal charges against a subsidiary, shareholder litigation and other difficulties, experienced continued legal and financial problems in 1984. Last August, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, acting on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration, seized millions of dollars' worth of tissue cultures and other medical items at the company and shut down its manufacturing facilities following complaints of adulturated products and other problems. The firm later reached an agreement with the FDA allowing the facility to resume production but limiting the types of work it could do pending improvements.

Flow General reported a $14.4 million loss for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1984, considerably improved from the $33.8 million loss it posted in fiscal 1983. The company blamed about half of the 1984 red ink on a $7 million loss caused by the divestiture of its Worthington Diagnostic Systems Inc. unit.

For the first half of 1985, the company reported a loss of $2.6 million (29 cents a share), down from $9.4 million ($1.12) for the comparable fiscal 1984 period. Sales were $69.1 million, from $65.3 million the year before.

Last year the board of directors appointed a new president and chief operating officer, Robert E. Wengler. In their annual report to shareholders, Wengler and Flow General Chairman Grant C. Ehrlich said that while events of the past year were "not pleasant," they believed that "bad news of anything like the magnitude cited above is now at an end." 29: CROWN BOOKS CORP. 3301 Pennsy Dr. Landover, Md. 20785

REVENUE: $114.4 million PROFITS: $6.5 million EARNINGS PER SHARE: 81 cents DIVIDEND: None ASSETS: $102.9 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $73.7 million RETURN ON EQUITY: 9.2 percent (est.) EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 1,320 TOP EXECUTIVE: Robert M. Haft, president FOUNDED: 1977

DESCRIPTION: Crown is a specialty retail chain that sells discounted books, magazines and some computer software in 185 stores in Washington and other metropolitan areas. It is 34 percent owned by Dart Group Corp.

DEVELOPMENTS: Crown Books Corp.'s profits climbed by 35 percent in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, to $6.5 million (81 cents) from $4.8 million (73 cents) in fiscal 1984. Sales increased by 25 percent, to $114.4 million from $91.3 million in 1984.

Crown Books joined its parent company, Dart Group Corp., and members of the Herbert H. Haft family, which controls Dart, in buying shares of May Department Stores Co., which owns The Hecht Co. Crown Books told the Securities and Exchange Commission that, as of Feb. 1, it had bought nearly 1 percent of May's stock for $15 million. However, Dart later told the SEC it had sold all of its shares at a $500,000 profit.

As of Oct. 31, Crown had assets of $104 million, with $3.4 million in cash and $50.8 million in short-term investments.

Crown went public in August 1983 at $25 a share and has shown steady sales growth and solid profits, but the stock price has declined and hovered at the $12.50-level by last month.

The public offering helped Crown expand its operations rapidly from 114 stores to 158 by the end of 1983, and the aggressive expansion is expected to continue, particularly in light of Dart Drug Corp.'s $160 million sale of its 73-store drugstore chain. Financial analysts predicted that the capital gained from the sale of the drugstores would be used to expand Crown and Dart's holdings in Trak Auto. Crown opened 27 new stores over the past year. 30: CACI INC. 1815 N. Fort Myer Dr. Arlington, Va. 22209

REVENUE: $109.8 million LOSS: $939,000 LOSS PER SHARE: 10 cents DIVIDEND: None ASSETS: $41.7 million STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY: $13.5 million RETURN ON EQUITY: NA EXCHANGE: OTC EMPLOYES: 1,400 TOP EXECUTIVE: J. P. London, president and chief executive officer; Herbert W. Karr, chairman FOUNDED: 1962

DESCRIPTION: CACI provides high-technology services to government, commerce and industry in such fields as logistics, information management, national strategic planning and policy analysis, engineering and the environment.

DEVELOPMENTS: Once considered a local company to watch, CACI reported disappointing results for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1984, with a 4 percent drop in revenue and a net loss of $939,000, compared with a profit of almost $4 million for fiscal 1983. The outlook improved during the quarter ended Sept. 30, with profits up to $563,561 (6 cents per share), compared with $11,715 (no earnings) during the first quarter of fiscal 1984. Profits in the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $658,000 (7 cents), still a 49 percent decline from $1.3 million (14 cents) in the year-previous period. For the third quarter, the company has a profit of $770,677, compared with a loss of about the same size the previous year.

A company spokesman blamed the slowdown on a streamlining of unprofitable European activities, lower foreign currency rates and the winding down of a U.S. Navy contract in Saudi Arabia.

CACI said it is curtailing operations, closing offices in North America and Europe, trimming its work force and reducing salaries in an effort to boost earnings. Meanwhile, the company is expanding its computerized information systems business; in March 1984, the company introduced its SUPERSITE system. CACI called the system the most advanced demographic information and market analysis system available in the United States.

The company also reported several new contracts, including a five-year, $22 million contract with the U.S. Air Force for integrated logistic support at its consolidated space operations center, and a large, ongoing litigation-support contract with the U.S. Department of Justice.